The NSW Liberals & Nationals will increase the size of the NSW Police Force to record levels by recruiting an additional 550 officers as part of a blitz on crime unveiled today by NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell and Shadow Minister for Police Mike Gallacher.
“With public concern about crime on the rise, the NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined to give police the powers, the resources and the backing they need to keep our community safe,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Police have not received the support they need over the last 16 years of Labor despite public concerns about crime across the State,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“My team unashamedly back our cops,” he said.
“This comprehensive package will ensure NSW Police again have the resources they need to fight crime – whether it is in our homes and suburbs, on our roads or comes from terrorists.”
The NSW Liberals & Nationals will:
- Recruit an additional 550 police – taking the authorised strength of the Police Force to a record 16,356 officers by June 2014;
- Boost the Highway Patrol by 100 Officers to increase police visibility and enforcement on the roads;
- Purchase an additional 131 vehicles, including 50 Highway Patrol cars; and
- Purchase a new Counter Terrorism helicopter to enable police to respond immediately to threats across the State
Mr O’Farrell said these initiatives come on top of NSW Liberals & Nationals commitments of $69 million to build or upgrade up to eight additional police stations, install 100 extra number plate recognition units in Highway Patrol vehicles, purchase 25 additional Mobile Command Vehicles and boost DNA testing.
More than $20 million will also be spent on the construction of eight new Police and Community Youth Clubs and the upgrade of existing clubs.
“We have to restore community confidence in the ability of police to respond to crime – and that starts with giving them the best resources,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“People who stop me on the street often report they don’t see police in their neighbourhoods.
“I’m determined to increase police numbers so they can be out on our streets preventing crime through high visibility patrols.
“Under Labor, we have seen more than 65 police stations closed in the past five years and police graduation numbers rise and fall in line with elections.
“We have to stop this boom-or-bust cycle by ensuring police numbers remain at the levels we need to fight crime effectively.”
Mr O’Farrell said all of the 550 Officers would be on the beat by June 2014, including 150 scheduled to be sworn in by December this year.
Mr Gallacher, a former highway patrolman, said he was particularly concerned about the number of young drivers involved in serious and often fatal accidents on the State’s roads.
“With young lives being lost, the Highway Patrol can no longer be regarded as an ‘optional extra’ within the policing strategy,” Mr Gallacher said.
“A new Highway Patrol State Command will be set up, combining the Highway Patrol and Crash Investigation Unit, to make the roads safer.
“We will put more police and more Highway Patrol vehicles on our roads,” he said.
“Everyone knows that driver behaviour improves when motorists see police on the roads because they know there is a greater chance of detection if they speed or break other road rules.”
Mr Gallacher said a comprehensive audit of police allocation would be conducted if the NSW Liberals & Nationals win the March 26 election. It will review police numbers required in each region across the State and further increases in police numbers will be considered when the audit is completed.
“Further, a new $16 million Counter Terrorism helicopter will be purchased to replace the ageing PolAir 5 helicopter,” he said.
“We have to be ready to respond quickly to terrorist threats, no matter where they occur in NSW.
“The current PolAir 5 helicopter was built in 1991 and is the oldest aircraft in the police fleet.
“This poses significant safety and security risks and, unlike Labor, we are going to ensure we give our counter terrorism officers a world class helicopter,” Mr Gallacher said.